Cathedral Masses, LA County Holiday Celebration set for Christmas Eve
By STEVEN HERBERT
Christmas Eve in the Southland will be marked Saturday by Masses at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the 63rd annual Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Archbishop José H. Gomez will preside at a 4 p.m. Christmas Eve family Mass and a 10 p.m. Mass. Both Masses will be in English. The 10 p.m. Mass will be preceded by Christmas carols with cathedral’s choir at 9:30 p.m.
The Masses will be streamed at facebook.com/olacathedral and youtube.com/olacathedral.
“We are drawn back, year after year, to find Mary and Joseph and the Child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger,” Gomez said. “Jesus entered our world as a Child, and he told us that in order to enter his world, we also need to become children. The Child who comes on Christmas promised to never leave us. He renews that promise, the promise of Christmas, in every Eucharist.
“Jesus comes to be with us, to be the bread of life, to fill us with his own divine life. We can find this Child, we can meet him again and again, in our churches. He is there at the altar, he is there in the tabernacle, just as he was present in the manger, waiting for us, waiting to give himself to us. Let’s keep praying for one another in this holy season.”
The LA County Holiday Celebration will run from 3-6 p.m. and have a live audience for the first time since 2019. It will be televised live by KOCE-TV Channel 50 and streamed at pbssocal.org, kcet.org and the Public Broadcasting Service app. It will be rebroadcast at 6 p.m. on KOCE and at 11 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday on KCET-TV Channel 28.
Tickets are not required. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis and is not guaranteed.
Doors open at 2:30 p.m. A line on the Hope Street side of Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center starts forming at roughly 9 a.m. Parking is free in The Music Center garage.
While The Music Center strongly encourages vaccines/boosters and the use of masks, they are no longer required to attend performances in its theaters.
There will be 21 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies performing during the celebration which will be hosted by opera singer Suzanna Guzmán for the ninth year and Candice Heiden, a professional roller skater, skate choreographer and coach.
The Santa Monica-based a cappella performance group Squad Harmonix is among the newcomers who will be performing. The group of performers 8 to 17 years old presents a high-energy, family friendly show with a heavy focus on pop, contemporary, Disney and movie-theme music.
Squad Harmonix has recorded two albums that are available on Spotify.
Other new performers include the blues band Sista Jeans Blues Machine; the hip-hop dance ensemble Temper Tantrum; tap dance ensemble Reverb Tap Company; and the California School of the Arts-San Gabriel Valley Vocal Arts Ensemble.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will perform at the celebration for the 32nd consecutive year, singing Motown-themed Christmas songs.
Other Christmas Eve performers include:
— The Urban Voices Project, a choir of homeless men and women living on Skid Row which will sing “Hang Your Lights” and “Everyday Will Be A Holiday”;
— the all-women global soul music ensemble ADAAWE, which will perform its original reggae tune Sikiya fused with an alternate take on the traditional holiday song “Little Drummer Girl,” that empowers girls and celebrates rhythm;
— the Grammy-winning guitarist Daniel Ho and his trio, who will sing “The Little Drummer Boy” in Hawaiian accompanied by original hula choreography by Halau Hula Keali’i o Nalani;
— the all-female mariachi ensemble Las Colibrí will blend vocal harmonies with unique arrangements of such holiday songs as “Silent Night”;
— the world chamber music ensemble Quartero Nuevo will perform Romanian Christmas carols;
— the Philippine folk arts dance company Kayamanan Ng Lahi will perform “A New Beginning,” using traditional Pangalay and provincial-style movements juxtaposed with original, contemporary music to illustrate the transformation of the human spirit;
— the secular, a cappella community choir Voices of Reason, which sings comedic songs focusing on science and separation of church and state, will sing “Evolution” and Steve Martin’s “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs”; and
— the Sound of China Guzheng Ensemble will fuse the sound of traditional Chinese instruments with American country music for a holiday rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
More information on the celebration is available by calling its information hotline at 213-972-3099 or its website, HolidayCelebration.org.